In today's episode we are going to venture a little away from DoorDash persay. Originally when I wanted to start 'gig working' with my car I knew of a few options. DoorDash first came to mind, then Uber Eats and also Walmart Spark.
I decided to sign up for Walmart Spark first because it was the only one of the 3 that I knew some about because while waiting at Walmart to pickup my wifes order I got talking to the car next to me and he was doing Spark delivering and was giving me the lay of the land. That was months ago though but still it was more 'comfortable' of the 3 because I knew some about it.
I went through the sign up and after a few minutes was told that there were too many drivers already in my area and that I was on a waitlist. Walmart than proceeded to e-mail and text me every other day to tell me I was still on the waitlist. The same day I signed up for Walmart Spark, I signed up for DoorDash and was immediately approved. Which is why I started to DoorDash instead.
However, today's episode is about Walmart Spark because I was finally approved for it the other day and wanted to take it out for a spin.
The TL:DR though is that I will never do Walmart Spark again.
It was a bright and sunny day as I headed to the Walmart. I had about 3.5 hours that night that I was free to do deliveries. So I popped open the app and marked that I was ready to start taking orders. An order popped up and I accepted it. It than proceeded to explain to me how to go into the Walmart and purchase the items and making sure I get exactly what was ordered....
I freaked out. I didn't want to go buy the items myself and than wait for Walmart to pay me back. As quickly as I could I declined the order. I am sure that probably hurt some metric for me as a driver but I didn't care. I watched a few more orders come in and they were gone before I could accept them.
This is what led me to my first observation of Walmart Spark. They just show up all orders to all drivers and its a first come first server basis. Or so I thought. After waiting a while for an order that did not require me to buy the products I saw that you can put in a time that you want to work until. So I picked 3.5 hours out from when I started.
It was at that point that I got an order popup and it was 16 orders all in 1 and the payout was $65. I figured that was a good deal, and quite honestly going from DoorDash where orders are $2 to $14 seeing that $60+ amount I immediately jumped on it.
I pulled into a pikcup spot and told the app which spot I was in. It than told me that for quicker pickup to wait in the car and let the Walmart employees open the trunk door and load the groceries.
After about 2 minutes a nice lady came up and confirmed that I was picking up the orders and I gave her the code and than told her that the trunk was open. She looked at me a second and told me that I had to come too and scan each order after she does. I was confused because it was the exact opposite of what the app told me to do but none the less I got out and went to the back with her.
To her credit she was patient and walked me through what I had to do. She would scan an order barcode and give me the bag and then I would scan the same barcode/bag and put it in my car. Rinse and repeat 16 times.
Then I was on my way to deliver my 16 orders. It of course already had my 16 stops all mapped out and which one to go to first (it doesn't give you an option to change).
You get to a house and then proceed to sort through the bags to find the one you need. The app makes you scan the barcode to make sure it is the right one which was VERY HELPFUL because I had 2 orders for "S Smith" which was 2 different people and on the first drop off I grabbed the wrong one and the app told me to try again lol.
You drop off the bag at the front door and take a picture and then you go to the next delivery address. Rinse and Repeat.
But where the headaches start is around order #10. This was delivering to an apartment complex with a circle road in the middle and apartments all around on the outside. What I didn't know and what was not clear was that each building had a hallway in the middle with odd numbers on the outside outside of the buildings. So I had to call the lady to find out where her home was and she came out to meet me. She was not too happy with me.
Then on delivery #12 I was at another apartment. This one was 4 identical buildings which were 3 stories and had like 3 apartments on each floor, so not big buildings. The delivery instructions stated to leave it on the patio of the apartment building by the front door and to notify them when its delivered so they can grab it after I leave.
I got to the correct building and was confused because there was no patio by the front door, just a small little concrete pad with enough space for the front door and the maintenance entrance door. I was unsure so I texted the customer to make sure they wanted it by those 2 doors and they responded stating yes that is where they wanted it. So I put the items (vacuum cleaner and a Swiffer) there up against the wall between the 2 doors. Took a picture and than texted them back stating the items where there and they were good to go.
They told me that they appreciated it and I was off to my next delivery stop.
2 stops later (35 minutes to be exact) that number texted me back stating that their mother can't find the items. So we had a fun little game of back and forth where they wanted to make sure I delivered it to the right building because they all look the same. I told them I was sure and that they can check the Walmart app order to see the picture maybe to make sure they were looking where I put it. The customer started to get more and more upset with me because it wasn't there.
All this time the Walmart app does not let you go back to view past deliveries so I couldn't go back and see the address or the picture I took, nothing. Finally after completing all my deliveries for that 1 big order I told them that if they are not there and they are looking in the right place than someone must have stolen them and to contact Walmart because I was 100% sure I delivered them to the right building and even confirmed where to put them with the customer. They didn't text me back after that.
But here is the kicker. When I completed my last delivery it was 4 hours and 8 minutes after I started. I learned that when I put in a time I wanted to stop when I started this, Walmart just picked enough orders to keep my busy for those 3.5 hours. They had it all timed out on how long it would take to get from delivery to delivery and such to end exactly at 3.5 hours.
What Walmart does not take into account though is having to contact customers for special drop off requirements or to gain access to apartment buildings or just plain old traffic. So I was so over this by the end. And you have the items in your car so you can't just stop halfway through delivering. You are committing to hours even if something comes up.
Those 4 hours earned me $65. That is $16.25 per hour. Which for a 'normal' job isn't bad. But with DoorDash I can make roughly $23/hour. And since I am driving my car I have to pay for gas and wear/tear I am going to stick to the $20+/hour one.
And honestly I had have problems with DoorDash too but they are a 1 order and done situation. So say I delivery the wrong order to a person. Welp F'd that up and contact DoorDash and move on. Sure it sucks for the people not getting their food but you the driver are more removed from it than you are with Walmart Spark.